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Division I Committee on Infractions Issues Decision on Arkansas State University

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 11, 2011


Stacey Osburn
Associate Director of Public and Media Relations

INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has found that Arkansas State University committed major violations involving 31 student-athletes. The violations in the case include ineligible participation and extra benefits, a failure to monitor the eligibility-certification process, and unethical conduct involving academic fraud. Penalties in this case include two years probation, a reduction in athletics financial aid, and vacating victories in the sports of football, men’s basketball, baseball and women’s soccer.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. When the NCAA enforcement staff, the university and involved individuals agree to the facts of the case and the university proposes penalties, they may use this process instead of having a formal hearing.

The case involved 31 student-athletes who competed while ineligible from the 2005-06 academic year through the fall semester of 2008-09. Specifically, they failed to complete the minimum percentage of course requirements in their specific degree programs. The violations occurred because of the incorrect application of NCAA progress-toward-degree requirements by two former athletics academic advisors. When two new advisors joined the department in 2008, they initiated an audit of prior eligibility and discovered the violations. No indications of intentional wrongdoing were uncovered, but the failure of the institution to detect the violations constituted a failure to monitor the eligibility certification process.

The investigation also uncovered two instances of academic fraud. During the 2007 spring semester, and again in December 2007, the former director of technology in the institution’s College of Agriculture and Technology changed a final grade in a course for a men’s basketball student-athlete without the consent of the professor.

In determining the appropriate penalties to impose, the Committee on Infractions considered the institution’s self-imposed penalties and corrective actions. The penalties in this case include:

The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA; Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., attorney; John Black, attorney; Greg Sankey, associate commissioner of compliance for the Southeastern Conference; Eleanor Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple University; Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at University of Notre Dame; and James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon.